Tom Graumann (Hochberg)

* 1931

  • “It was a train for children only, I was terribly excited about that. My Mother told me I was going to Britain to learn English in order to be a business representative of my father's company for Britain. She also said I would be back in a few years time. I was so excited that I failed to realize that it would be the last time I saw my Mother and my Granny, and that they must have cried when I was leaving. I said a quick good-bye to them. My Mother gave two suitcases to me and a bag with food for the journey.”

  • “My Mother became a Christian sometime in 1939 or 1940. I was sent to a Christian family in Scotland. I made the decision on my own when I heard the Gospels. Some rabbis complained that Winton sent smart Jewish children to Christian families so that they would become Christians. His answer was: 'Is a dead Jew worthy of a living child?' I haven't even heard of pressure to become Christian in any other cases of Winton's children.”

  • "I had one brother. My brother Tony was three years younger than I was. When I was leaving my brother was sick and he was promised that maybe he would be on the next train. But I left on the train in the beginning of August 1939 and on September 1st Hitler invaded Poland and the opportunity for anyone to leave was gone. According to records of the Jewish community in Prague he was sent with my mother to Terezín and then to the camp at Sobibor in Poland. According to records, they were killed the same day they arrived at the camp."

  • "I want to tell people that it’s important to remember what’s happened and that all of this can happen again. If we do not remember history we will repeat it. We’ve seen the same kind of things happen. Land offered to Israel for peace doesn’t produce peace anymore than it did here when Sudetenland was given to Germany. It’s important to remember the past. Having been rescued, I believe there must be some reason for living and I think many of Winton’s children are very conscious of the need to do something with their lives. Questions I face: 'Why am I still alive? What am I here for?' I am trying to do something with my life. That’s why when I was 62 I decided not to sit in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. So I came here and I’ve tried to teach some English. My message for the future generation is: Take the opportunity that is given to you and make good use of your life."

  • "My name is Tom Graumann, thank you for your visit. I’m very glad you write in honor of Nicolas Winton. Many reporters are writing only about murders, thefts and scandals. Because I’m one of the children saved by Nicolas Winton I’m happy that his life is well-known and that the general public is reminded of him. Thanks to his help we are all alive."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Nebovidy, Kolín, 12.10.2007

    duration: 01:19:21
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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“There must be a reason for my having been saved. Many of Winton’s children are aware of certain obligations towards their own lives. I’m still confronted with some questions – ‘Why am I alive? Where is my life leading to?’”

Tom Graumann in 1939
Tom Graumann in 1939
photo: archiv pamětnika

Tom Graumann, one of Nicholas Winton’s children, was born in a Czech-German Jewish family in Brno in 1931. His mother later converted to Christianity. Probably due to the contacts of his mother and a Protestant priest in Těšany u Brna he managed to get to Scotland. He was raised in a strongly religious Presbyterian family. During the war Tom Graumann converted to Christianity as well. He didn’t return to Czechoslovakia after the war. He studied nursing and also attended the Biblical Missionary School in Scotland. He worked as a nurse for most of his life. He worked as a nurse, teacher and missionary in the Philippines for nine years. He lived in the United States after his stay in the Philippiines. He has lived alternatively in the United States and the Czech Republic since 1997 and teaches English. He spends most of the year in Nebovidy in the Kolín region.